A couple of weeks ago, Robert Marshall posted an article on the Scotsport Yearbook season 72/73 but I was surprised when he gave me a loan of it, there was a cracking photo of the Scotland squad for the Home Internationals for season 71-72, which was Tommy Docherty’s only Championship as manager. Initially I was going to write a bit about the squad and the Championships but what intrigued me more was some of the players early in their Scotland careers that Tommy gave their debut cap too. That got me thinking, who did Tommy Docherty give debuts to and who was his successes and failures.

Tommy was in charge of Scotland for twelve games winning 7, drawing 2 and losing 3. His first game was against Portugal in a Euro qualifier on the 13th October, 1971. Straight away Tommy was controversial in picking two players, of Scottish parentage for the first time and in particular his choice of goalkeeper, Arsenal’s Bob Wilson. Bob was very much seen as an Englishman to all and sundry even though Bob himself is very proud of his Scottish heritage. The other player was Hibs’ Alex Cropley who was born in Aldershot, as his father was playing for Aldershot FC at the time. Funnily enough, Bruce Rioch was also born there, 4 years earlier than Cropley but it would take almost another 4 years for him to make his Scotland debut. Both Alex and Bob would only play twice for Scotland, Cropley would almost be on the cusp of call ups to future squads but bad luck with injuries would always seem to hinder his progress.

Also making their debut that night would be Sheffield United’s centre half Eddie Colquhoun who would win 9 caps in total, his last being Willie Ormond’s torrid debut as manager in 5 nil whitewash to England in 1973. Another of Arsenal’s double winning team of ’71, George Graham was given his chance. Graham would score 3 goals in 12 games for Scotland.

Colquhoun was replaced in 60 minutes by Martin Buchan who would actually move to Manchester United from Aberdeen prior to the Doc going there. Buchan would go on to play 34 games for Scotland.

Scotland won 2-1 against Portugal that night at Hampden with Archie Gemmill and John O’Hare scoring the goals.

Being a wily character, Tommy decided to reinstate Bobby Clark to first choice goalkeeper in his next game as this was against Belgium in another Euro qualifier at Pittodrie. He also choose the home clubs’ Buchan and debutant Stevie Murray to start. This would be Murray’s only Scotland game. In the 48th minute Alex Cropley was replaced by a Scotland legend in the making, Kenny Dalglish. The other sub that night was John Hansen of Partick Thistle making one of his only two appearances. Scotland won one nil with O’Hare scoring again.

There was no debutants in his next game a 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands in Amsterdam, to a team that included Cruyff, Krol and Neeskens. George Graham scored the sole Scotland goal.

Ally Hunter was given the goalie jersey next time round, a friendly against Peru and would play four games in total, the last being for Willie Ormond on the night we qualified for Munich ’74 but perhaps letting in that soft goal that night (“disaster for Scotland”), was enough for Willie to ditch him. Also making his debut that night was Man. City’s Willie Donachie, who won 35 caps and his future Man City team mate Asa Hartford with West Brom at the time, who played 50 times for Scotland. Scotland won 2-0 with goals from O’Hare and Denis Law returning to the side for the first time in two years. Also playing that night were Hector Chumpitaz and Teofilo Cubillas or should I not have mentioned that?

As for the Home Internationals we would beat both Northern Ireland (2-0) and Wales (1-0) but lose to England (0-1). Only Luigi Macari or Lou to me and you, would make his debut in these games as a sub against Wales and play the full 90 minutes against England. Lou would go on to play 24 games for Scotland.

Then onto Brazil for the Independence tourney. Scotland would draw 2-2 with Yugoslavia in front of a crowd of 4000 in Belo Horizonte. Thistle’s Alex Forsyth would make his bow in the first of the games as would ex-Jag and then Norwich player Jimmy Bone, who’s final Scotland record would read played 2 scored one. Lou Macari scored the Scotland goals. The next game in Porto Alegre would see Scotland draw nil nil with Czechoslovakia in front of 15,000. The final game saw Scotland lose one nil to Brazil with Jairzinho scoring the only goal in 80 minutes at the Maracana in front of a crowd of 130,000.

Tommy would only have two more games in charge, both World Cup Qualifiers against Denmark with Joe Harper coming off the bench in the away tie to make a scoring debut in a 4-1 win for Scotland. Joe would only play 4 times for Scotland. Jimmy Bone, Lou Macari and Man United’s Willie Morgan scored the others.

His final game in charge would see him give David Harvey of Leeds his debut against Denmark at Hampden which the Scots won 2 nil with Kenny Dalglish hitting his first Scotland goal and Peter Lorimer score the other.

And with that Tommy paved the way for Willie Ormond to take us to the World Cup in 1974. His time as Scotland manager was a success, winning all his Euro and World Cup qualifiers. He also gave debuts to important players like Buchan, Dalglish, Donachie, Hartford, Macari and David Harvey, all of whom served their country well. It should be noted that in the squad photo is Kenny Burns who would make his Scotland debut almost two years later. Interestingly, Tommy also as Manchester United manager purchased Macari, Forsyth and George Graham shortly after arriving at Old Trafford.

David Stuart

First posted on Facebook June 19th, 2015